By Jackson Richman
Reportedly, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has handed his resignation to President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is also the senior adviser to the president. Tillerson is expected to be replaced by CIA director Mike Pompeo, whose position will be filled by Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR).
If confirmed, Pompeo would be a Secretary of State unlike his predecessors. He would bring moral clarity to a vital agency that plays a role in protecting America’s standing at home and abroad.
Let us look at Pompeo’s record on issues, like the Iran deal.
Ayatollah Khamenei watches America allow Iran to expand its power while our president writes him missives ensuring we will protect Iran’s interests. This is dangerous. The Islamic Republic cannot even feed its own people without access to markets and our president rewards that nation, which has killed countless Americans, with sanctions relief. We should make clear that nuclear enrichment is not acceptable inside of Iran for any purpose.
On Wednesday, it was reported the Trump administration stopped purchasing heavy water from Iran, per the 2015 deal. Regarding Iran’s use of heavy water, which is an ingredient in making a nuclear bomb, Pompeo told the Washington Free Beacon,“The Obama administration’s deal with the Mullahs in Tehran to purchase heavy water demonstrates a disturbing, potentially illegal, willingness of the administration to subsidize Iran’s nuclear program.”
“This purchase allows the Iranians to offload previously unsellable product and it destigmatizes the act of doing business in Iran,” he added.
On the Iranian regime Pompeo said, “Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps are the cudgels of a despotic theocracy, with the IRGC accountable only to a Supreme Leader…They’re the vanguard of a pernicious empire that is expanding its power and influence across the Middle East.”
Unlike Tillerson, Pompeo has acknowledged Iranian influence in the Kurdish capital of Kirkuk last month in light of a Kurdish referendum to declare independence from Iraq. “I’m aware of that,” Pompeo said in an interview with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. This is a refreshing take that, if Pompeo were to take that to Foggy Bottom, would reassure our Kurdish allies in the fight against Iranian and Russian influence in Syria, in addition to possibly supporting the creation of an Independent Kurdistan.
Regarding Russia, Pompeo has contradicted the president, which may be reassuring for those who worry Trump’s top brass may eventually fall in line with his views and denials, such as Russian interference in last year’s election. According to CNN:
“The Director stands by and has always stood by the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment entitled: Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections,” the CIA said in a statement when asked for reaction to the president’s remarks. “The intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed.”
With the issue of Syria and its leader Bashar al-Assad, who has gassed his own people, last July, Pompeo said that the Syrian president is a “puppet of the Iranians,” who have a “significant foothold in Syria.”
On Israel, the Republican Jewish Coalition has praised Pompeo for his support of Israel and his hawkish stance against Iran and the nuclear deal, which both threaten the Jewish State. “Throughout his years of public service, Rep. Pompeo has been a friend of American Jews and a true friend of Israel,” RJC executive director Matt Brooks said when Pompeo was nominated as CIA director. “His staunch opposition to the Iran nuclear deal shows he takes our interests to heart and we are proud to support him.”
Considering the infamous history of the relationship between Israel and the State Department, Pompeo would be a breath of fresh air and suck the anti-Israel oxygen out of the bureaucracy, even among career foreign service officials whose influence has waned under the Trump administration.
On the instability in South America, specifically in Venezuela, Pompeo said that terrorist groups and state actors have infiltrated the region. “The Cubans are there; the Russians are there, the Iranians, Hezbollah are there,” he said last August on “Fox News Sunday.”
Pompeo added, “This is something that has a risk of getting to a very, very bad place, so America needs to take this very seriously.”
Finally, on Wikileaks, Pompeo has denounced the leaking machine, which is admired by both sides of the political and ideological spectrum. “I don’t love Wikileaks,” Pompeo said last July. “WikiLeaks will take down America any way they can.”
While Pompeo will need to be questioned on his reticence regarding the North Korean nuclear threat and saying last month that Chinese president Xi Jinping “can do good around the world” — despite Trump accusing a Chinese envoy to North Korea for being unable to turn the tide amid an ICBM launch yesterday by North Korea Pompeo — if confirmed, is in a position to bring moral clarity to not only the State Department, but also to America’s standing abroad, which has been jeopardized over the past several years.